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Compare and Contrast Country Lover and the Welcome Table

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kamcwi7887
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Compare and Contrast the Literary Work

“The Welcome Table” VS “ Country Lovers”

“The Racial Conflicts And Discrimination In The Welcome Table And Country Lovers”

Katie McWilliams

Instructor: Heather Peerboom



I chosen to compare and contrast the literary works, “country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer and “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker, the theme being race / ethnicity. Theme: “The Racial Conflict and Discrimination In The Welcome Table And Country Lovers.” I want to explore the difference lives’ of these two woman was face with, and the way the narrator made me feel while I was reading the story of two black woman. Two strong black women that face all types of problems life had to offer them. These two stories shows feeling, pain, hate, and disappointments in Country Lovers and The Welcome Table. Both of these women had to struggled with their emotions and all they had to go through. Both stories are told in third person omniscient point of view, you can tell by the way the narrator describe the characters and how they’re feeling in both story. “The Welcome Table,” the old woman had her faith to guide her. To carrier her through the hard times. All she wanted was just to attend church. There is a rascal tension centered on both of these stories, in “Country Lovers” the black woman in this story was a pretty black woman fell in love with someone she grow up with a white man, she had a baby for him. This paper will explain every little details concerning The Welcome Table and Country Lovers.

“The Racial Conflict And Discrimination In The Welcome Table And Country Lovers”

Every story narrows a broad underlying idea. Shaped in a unique way, and makes the underlying idea concrete. That’s how themes are created. The theme is a representation of the idea behind the story. (Clugston, 2014). The theme racial discrimination for Country Lovers by Nadine Gordimer and The Welcome Table by Alice Walker. The first story is about a young man his father is the owner of the farm. The son name is Paulus Eysendyck, who is the farmer son he is white. A black woman that grow up with him as children. So they had a special bond with each other. Thebedi, the farm hand daughter as children they played together all the kids played together. They were growing up and had feeling for each other as teenagers they become more than friends.

It had turn into intimacy; they had tender feelings for each other. Even though their relationship was forbidden. They continue to see each other even when Paulus went off to college they still continue to see each other when he came home to visits. To see Thebedi, but when he came home to see her he found out she was married. Thebedi later married a very handsome young black man by the name of Njabulo, a kind man that has loved her for years. Two months later, Thebedi had a beautiful baby girl she was a light-skinned child. Although she was with child when she got married, however it’s not scandalous for a woman to become pregnant in their culture, to find out if the woman can have children. The light skin tone of the baby reveals who the father was, but that didn’t matter to Njabulo, he still treat the baby just like she was his. When Paulus the white man come home to visit he found out about the marriage, and his light skinned child, he panics when he hear of the child and goes to visit Thebedi. When he see’s the baby for the first time he was speechless, because the baby has the same hazel eyes. He ask her to give the baby up to someone else to rise, ”Don’t take it out stay inside.” Can’t you take it away somewhere? You must give it to someone. “ But she does not want to. Two days later he goes back to see Thebedi’s and ask to see the child again. As Thebedi’s was out side, she hears some soft groaning, sounds, that night the baby dies. (Clugston, 2014).

Paulu’s was very surprise when he found out he had a child and Thebedi’s didn’t tell him anything about the baby. He would come home to visit but she never said nothing to him. And when he found out about the baby he tried to get her to give the baby away. He didn’t want his family to found out that he had a child with one of his father hired hands. And the hired hand was a black woman, would they understand. The racial conflict and discrimination in the welcome table and the country lovers.

In “The Welcome Table” the old black women just wanted to attend church she didn’t know what type of church it was she just wanted to attend. But the church was an all white church only. All the old woman wanted to do was just to praise God and attend church. When the member was looking at this old woman, they looked at her like she was nothing, to nobody. Symbolism is her religious, symbol or object, person, or action that conveys two meaning: (Clugston, 2014). It’s own literal meaning and something it stand for as well. This short story is filled with symbolism of life and death: good and evil; love and hatred and peace and anger. “ There was a dazed and sleepy look in her aged blue brown eyes” (Clugston, 2014). Blue, symbolize, peacefulness because of her faith. Everyone knew her because they call her auntie or grandma, but not well enough to let her join in the congregation with them. They are racism unwilling to welcome her into their church. “ The Welcome Table” gives an account of an old black woman who wanders into a church to worship, and is faced with repugnance and disdain from the white members of the church. She is immediately thrown out and see Jesus, as she walks and talk with Jesus, his responds was only with a smile. She feels better having bared her soul and continues to walk and rejoice. At the end of the story she is found dead, assumed to have walked herself to death. (Clugston, 2014)

The plot is conflict driven, but even before knowing the point of view the reader gets an idea of it. The story is told from the third-person omniscient point of view; and carries an indignant tone in some parts of the story; giving the reader insight to the thoughts and feelings of all character in the story. For instance, “they gazed nakedly upon their own fear transferred; a fear of the black and old, a terror of the unknown as well as of the deeply known” (Clugston, 2014). Knowing the internal thoughts and feelings of the congregation connects and supports the theme of interracial intolerance. By Walker revealing the fears felt by the white churchgoers she establishes the era as well as the social structure of society then.

The two short stories both contain all of the literary elements indicative of the form of a short story. Some of those are setting, plot, theme, symbol, point of view, and conflict protagonist. The writing style of Alice Walker’s “The Welcome Table” is straightforward and simple, even for the weak readers. She combines many literary techniques such as point of view to tones of irony and compassion. The story is condensed taking place in a single day, with the exception of the body of the old woman being found the next day. In this story names are not revealed, perhaps to offer a more universal quality or timelessness; as if to elevate the role of “old lady” to any African American woman.
Nadine Gordimer on the other hand uses setting as her central technique. Her writing describes the settings where conflicts are witnessed and character development is observed. Gordimer’s narrative also shares more detail; it occurs over several years, we are able to see a relationship development and evolve. Because the characters are personalized, knowing their names enables us to connect with them. Reading these short story has give me the life of the old woman in “The Welcome Table” and “Country Lovers” it really show you how black people had to live with racism and discrimination, their was no way around it. If you was told to do something you didn’t want to do, you had to do it, what would they have done too you if you said no, or you didn’t feel like doing the cloth or washing the dish or change a dirty diaper. I think about the time the old woman had trying to get into the church to talk to God. And how the white people did her, when she walked in their church, they pick her up off her needls and throw her out off the church. Why they were so afraid of an old black woman? That made them feel like they were so much better than what she was, but she was a child of God they could not take that away from her. In “Country Lovers” although many of the issues interracial couples face may be construed as negative, interracial couples also experience personal and relational benefits from their cross-race intimate relationships. Indeed, the “blessings” of being involved in an interracial relationship are numerous, and include feeling that one has been personally enriched by being with an interracial partner, being thankful of the opportunities to bridge cultures, and weathering institutionalized racism (Rosenblatt, Karis, & Powell, 1995) when Paulus begins the secret sexual relationship with Thebedi his feelings about the encounter was that of surprise “so lovely, so lovely, he was surprised” (Clugston, 2010). When he began his sexual encounters was not a virgin, but his experience was like no other he had before, which suggests deep feelings for Thebedi. But we find as the story progresses that Paulus would never met with Thebedi in his room, they would always meet secretly and he no longer shared stories of his travel or school as well she never asked questions. The relationship seems to have become subservient, or perhaps the guilt of shame felt by Paulus for being with a black girl. Each story is unique in it’s own way.
The key character in each of these stories are the old black woman in The Welcome Table and the young black women in Country Lovers the stories is a protagonist it’s about the two black woman. The racial differences in the environment are very similar to popular ancient classical thought; however, race is an essential social issue since people use racial differences as the basis for discrimination.

Conclusion The two stories that I wrote about shows a lot of conflicts in racism and discrimination in these two stories that racial is ancient but it’s not. It has been around for a long time it should be up to everyone to ensure that we aim at eliminating this problem. But though all of the racial conflict that was going on Thedebi and Paulus found love through it all. And the old woman met with Jesus walking home she was smiling all the way home.


Clugston, R. W. (2014). Journey into literature (2nd ed.). San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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